Archive for December, 2009

The noughties have been the decade that ‘digital’ has come of age. Where Google has gone from a dotcom start-up to a verb. Where we don’t think twice about listening to the radio online, checking our email on our mobile phones, pausing live telly or having access to every album we’ve ever bought from our pocket. Where we can watch films on a games console whilst commuting to work. Where we don’t have to worry about forgetting to Sky+ the ‘Strictly’ semi-final as we know we can go online and watch it back in our own time. Where presidential elections have been won with the help of campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. Where we can vote out odious members of the public or celebrity world from dreadful reality shows just by pressing a red button. Where we can receive emails predicting what we want to purchase next based on our previous shopping habits. Where we don’t even have to leave the house to have our weekly shop delivered. Where we can speak to granny in Australia face to face via Skype.  Where made-up words such as ‘google it’, ‘re-tweet’, ‘avatar’ and ‘blog’ have entered our vocabulary without a second thought (Source: Digital dictionary).

This very neat illustration I saw today (found from a friend’s status update on facebook!) from the BBC sums up the noughties beautifully.

 What an exciting decade. I for one am very excited to see what the ‘tens’ hold in store. Merry Christmas!


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Shopping BagsIn my last eCircle blog I talked about the importance of getting your mindset right before you experiment with email marketing, ensuring you understand the channel before you push through a campaign risking your hard earned money ‘blind’.

 A good second step would be the importance of truly understanding what you want to achieve from the exercise coupled with knowing who you are dealing with.

 Marketing guru Seth Godin’s book ‘Purple Cow’ communicates this well; ‘One vestige of the TV industrial complex is a need to think mass. If it doesn’t appeal to everyone, as the thinking goes, it’s not worth it. No longer.’ Email marketing is a great illustration of this point and how the world has moved on from the brow beating marketing of past generations. Although in the last couple of years, the progressive thinking of targeted email marketing seems to have been largely forgotten in exchange for ‘TV industrial age complex’ thinking, in other words, trading good precision marketing tools for ‘throw as much at the wall as possible and see what sticks’ thinking. This is also evidenced by the cataclysmic delivery issues many data focused suppliers have experienced by shouting louder and louder at as wide an audience as possible, resulting in universal ISP induced gagging orders.

So it’s time to update our thinking to what makes a product remarkable and then look for those who will be so impressed to do your marketing for you by word of mouth. This begs the question ‘how do you reach those brilliant people who will be so impressed that they will want to broadcast the attributes of your product?’ I would suggest the following:

  •  Understand what happens at each stage of your product sales cycle. In most cases problems are not associated with the marketing channel, but with poor or outdated execution of the sales message after a prospect clicks. Does your marketing truthfully reflect the attributes of your product?
  •  Think ‘small, targeted and quality’. Forget loud, unintelligent interruption marketing that is as extinct as dinosaurs in the online world. When was the last time you read an advertisement in your junk folder? 
  • Play fair; you’re only damaging yourself if you don’t. Pushing down rates to unreasonably low levels in anticipation of rocketing profits because you managed to do a ‘great deal’ will deliver you unreasonably low response. The aim of a negotiation is for both parties to be happy. This way, the countless other aspects of a successful email campaign you overlooked in your triumph won’t become a problem further down the line 
  • Make your product stand out, not your marketing. What makes your product stand out from the crowd? Are you opting for safe and boring wrapped garish packaging sent to everyone or do you have something which will genuinely stand out as solving a problem for the right people in the right inboxes? 
  • Make the effort to understand what is happening with your campaign at grass root level rather than trust others to do your thinking. Email marketing isn’t difficult to understand. Some common sense and forward planning will prevent problems further down the line, preventing your cash being exploited by people who perhaps don’t share your passion for turning your cash into your profits, as oppose to theirs. 
  • Finally, pay respect to the channel! Prejudiced views based on shortsighted opinions ‘but I don’t respond to email,’ often result in half hearted commitment and a tendency towards poor decisions. There are few other media channels that can deliver you consistent, tangible and profitable results, but to get the best out of the channel you’ve got to open your mind to the age we are in and commit to high standards of success to pick the very best low hanging fruit.

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Airport commuteHere I am at the airport (again) as I embark on my weekly commute between London and Munich, and yes, as usual my flight is delayed.  But, like the majority of my fellow passengers, I am able to work on the move via my BlackBerry and looking around me now, I can see a vast number of people emailing or sending text messages from their mobile devices, which makes delays like this at least a little more productive.  It seems that if you travel a lot for work, then ‘smart phones’ are, quite simply, a must.

Sitting here in my usual air-side seat at the crack of dawn drinking a large coffee to try and wake up, I was reminded about an article I read a little while ago about Online Advertising overtaking TV http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8280557.stm, which most of us in the digital world would have expected to happen sooner or later but it’s interesting all the same.  So I was wondering what the next steps in the way we advertise or communicate our business messages will be?  Will my BlackBerry become my new video conferencing tool so I can dial in whilst I sit here in the airport lounge? Will I buy the same product online that I can get at an airport retailer just to conserve my energy and save me lugging the goods across Europe? Referring back to the fact that online advertising has taken over TV advertising, then perhaps I should think about throwing away my TV set altogether and simply subscribing to online TV channels instead to stay informed?  This diagram (source: http://www.baekdal.com/articles/Management/market-of-information/) illustrates neatly how much the way we communicate has changed, and how many more channels there are at our disposal these days.  As the original article states, we are currently in the middle of the most revolutionary changes since the introduction of the newspaper.  Exciting times indeed. 

Where is Everyone?

But why still compare if majority usage is going digital anyway?

A research study group is currently undertaking a “big brother type” of model brainstorming for 6 weeks on how digital life will affect everyone in the future.  Check it out here http://palomar5.org/

What do you think?  What are your thoughts or predictions on the future of communication?

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